1833 Churchman Eagle Map of the United States

Value (2016) | $25,000 Retail

It came from a family bible. I think it was my great-aunt. Before my mom died, she told my husband, "Go through my things very carefully." He pulled out an old bible, and he found this. It was folded up very small, it was like an... like an onion skin type paper. We thought it was pretty, so we had it framed. My husband really likes old maps anyway, so...

Well, I have to tell you, that beginning the seasons, appraisers often think, "What would I like to walk in this year?" And this is actually one of the things I hoped would walk in. It is the United States in 1833. You can see down here is the date.


But with the image of an eagle put over it. And it's by a man who was named Joseph Churchman. And he did a book for students, basically, and it says down here that it was for the "rudiments of national knowledge." And the title went on to say, "presented to the youth of the United States, and inquiring foreigners." And so it was a book basically to present geographic and political information about the United States. What's interesting is that he said that he was looking at a map of the United States, and because of the shadows and things, he thought he saw a bird. And he thought, "Oh, that's silly to put in," but he thought, you know what, it actually might help people learn about the United States' shape if they have an interesting image on it. And so he drew this image of a bird over the United States. I mean the geographic information is in there. And you can see each state is outlined. But over this he put the wings, and you can see the feathers down here. Down for Florida he has the claw. One thing he did say is just so you notice, he couldn't fit in Maine. And in the book he said he hoped that the citizens of Maine wouldn't be offended. But they could maybe think of themselves as a liberty cap on the top of the head of the eagle. Now it's unique partly because... well, he's the one who came up with the idea. But also very soon after the shape of the United States changed. One of the prominent things is in 1845, this whole area of Texas was sort of the United States. And you didn't have the same shape anymore. It is rare, it is spectacular, and meaningful in its appearance, which makes it very desirable. And there is nothing else quite like it. So now you had some sense of what you thought it might be worth, and what do you think?

I mean... Well, we looked a little bit online, and we thought maybe around $1,500, I don't know.

It's actually worth quite a bit more than that. It just doesn't come up. When it comes on the market, everybody wants it. They look at it and say, "I got to have that." So a retail value now-- fairly aggressive but fair-- would be about $25,000.

Wow. (chuckles) That's pretty... that's surprising, for sure. I had no idea really.

If there was one map of the United States I'd like to own, this would be it. It's just such a cool image.

Appraisal Details

The Philadelphia Print Shop West
Denver, CO
Appraised value (2016)
$25,000 Retail
Palm Springs, CA (August 06, 2016)

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